'Matter of Laugh or Death,' the award-winning humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
HONESTY THE BEST (CAMPAIGN) POLICY
Some experts say the presidential election in November is the most important one we’ve ever had. So naturally, with this in mind, the entire nation’s attention is focused solely on the respective candidates’ plans for the future and how they will lead our country if elected to the most powerful position earth.
No, I’m kidding, of course. The entire nation’s attention is focused solely on what the respective candidates may or may not have done more than 30 years ago.
Trying to follow all the mud-slinging—the charges, counter-charges, denials, explanations, and desperate attempts to change the subject—is like trying to follow every single transaction on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on a busy day. Or like trying to follow Dan Rather’s logic on any day, especially when he says the documents, though forgeries, are still true.
Here are just a few of the things the candidates have been accused of doing many years ago: lying about war heroics, lying about National Guard service, using drugs, having bad haircuts, kidnapping the Lindbergh baby (a charge neither candidate has denied very convincingly), and being rich elitists from Yale (a charge both candidates have denied vehemently).
All the charges leveled against President Bush and Senator Kerry boil down to two basic claims: each man is accused of (1) being self-centered in his early 20s, and (2) exaggerating about what he did during that time.
OK, and this makes them different from the other three billion males on the planet BECAUSE …??
The problem is not so much what Bush and Kerry did or didn’t do in their 20s. Anyone who’s ever had a 30th birthday realizes that guys in their 20s are not especially known for being filled with wisdom and common sense. The problem is that both presidential candidates have spent the last three decades denying they ever did any of those dumb things when they were young.
I don’t understand why this has snowballed into such a big deal. It seems that trying to hide something fairly minor from 30 years ago has become infinitely more newsworthy than issues that at least occurred in this century, issues such as whether the candidate started an unpopular war 18 month ago, or possesses a Senate voting record more liberal than Karl Marx.
Just in case I ever get nominated to run for president, I don’t want to be hamstrung by such picayune nonsense. (What? You don’t think I have a chance? Hey, stranger things have happened. How do you explain Jimmy Carter?) I therefore would like to come clean right now about some of my own youthful indiscretions and exaggerations:
I once got drunk as a youth—as long as you define “once” as being a continuous period of time from the Homecoming dance in the fall of 1973 until New Year’s Eve in 1984.
I often tried to impress girls at keg parties by telling them I was the starting quarterback on the college football team, rather than what I really was: one of the guys who caught passes from the starting quarterback during pre-game warm ups and then took a spot on the far end of the bench so as not to get in anyone’s way. Luckily, most of those babes didn’t pay attention during football games.
If that didn’t impress the girls, I’d tell them I was a jet fighter pilot during the Civil War. Luckily, most of those babes didn’t pay attention during History class either.
I also have to admit that I had a really ugly haircut in the 1970s. However, I have a couple of good excuses: first, I was drunk for 11 years in a row; and secondly, I needed all that hair for extra padding in my football helmet while quarterbacking the college team (or, depending on which story I was telling, in my fighter pilot helmet while battling Confederate F-16s in the skies over Gettysburg).
My campaign slogan: “Vote for me! My forgeries are true, too!”
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